Cate West: The Velvet Keys (

Cate West is back and this time she has to stop a murderer.  Each victim has their soul incased in a device that you have to unlock by using the Velvet Keys.

The plot is quite intriguing and makes some references to the first game as well as biblical ones.  It also tries to provide a reason for hunting objects instead of just telling you that you need to get random objects.  Some parts I don’t really understand but I can’t really say what they are without giving away spoilers.

Once again, the game play is completely repetitive.  You have to hunt down certain objects in order to form a key.  Then you have to collect objects that connect to the victim’s memories.  I will say one thing, what you do there differs in each chapter.  After that, you have to play a mini-game in order to unlock the device required for each key.

Again, the higher your score the better your ending.

It’s intriguing, but also repetitive.  I give it 6 out of 10, not a bad use of biblical references but I’ve seen better.

Cate West: The Vanishing Files (

When a crime wave hits the city, a novelist with a hidden ability aids the police in finding and arresting the mastermind.  Will it be enough to stop this?

Cate West is the protagonist and she put her life on hold to stop these crimes.  She also has her own agenda regarding her father’s death.  While there is a crime wave, each one involves Christianity.  Cate has to discover the connection between this and her powers.

Like I said, she puts her life on hold and has no time to make for her friends.  You might think I’m saying this negatively but I actually think it’s realistic.

The game play is the same every chapter.  First, you search for hidden objects.  Then you discover items that you have to reassemble since every crook likes to tear them apart for some reason instead of destroying them.  After that, you have to play a spot the difference game, accuse the right suspect and put the scene back together.

It’s fun at first but after a while, it gets repetitive.  You have an unlimited number of hints but using them subtracts from your score.  The ending you get depends entirely on how high your score is.

This game is fun but repetitive.  I give it 6 out of 10, a detective story with biblical elements.

Doggie Dash (

Walter and Scarlett have an idea of what to do with their lives but don’t have enough money to make their dreams a reality.  A chance meeting at Flo’s Diner allows Walter and Scarlett to combine their resources and open up a pet spa.

Not much to say about the plot except that it’s nice that Flo gets a cameo appearance.  There’s also a love story between Scarlett’s cat and Walter’s dog that will creep you out if you know about the birds and the bees.

The game play is that of a typical dash game.  You serve each pet trying to get them out before they run out of patience.  What you do is give them a bath, cut their fur and decorate them with ribbons.  You can also have them play before leaving, if you purchase the item and raise their happiness to five hearts.

Flo makes another cameo appearance with her dog Skillet.

This works to your advantage because pets will cheer up just by being near him.  In between levels, you purchase upgrades such as treats to make the game easier.  You can also pick between two decorations for whichever spa you are currently working at.  Getting the expert goal unlocks a third choice.  You have to reach the goal in order to advance but you can try for expert if you feel up to it.

The game is fun and addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10, the dash game for animal lovers.

Youda Jewel Shop (

Samantha dreams of opening her own jewelry store.  In order to do so she has to graduate from school, improve her grandfather’s shop, and compete in the Designer of the Year contest.  Along the way, she has to help a few people achieve their dreams.

There’s not much to say about the plot.  Samantha’s just competing in contests and helping different people out along the way.  I guess what you can get from it is that she’s driven but she doesn’t forget all the people around her.  Other than that, it’s there to pad out the game.

In each level, you make jewelry for the various customers that come in.  Your grandfather prepares it on the conveyor belt while you connect the different pieces and give it to the people that come to your shop.  How quickly you serve them affects how well you do, which in turn can affect what heart you get for a certain level, the best one being diamond.

You also have to help different people with their shops.  After each level, you get to decide on a new jewel to add to your shop.  The only exception is when you complete tasks for friends where you decide what power-up you get.

The game is fun and addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10, not a bad waste of your time.

Star Trek Online (

It’s the beginning of the 25th Century.  The Federation and the Klingons are at war, the True Way are trying to restore Cardassia to its former glory, the Borg are determined to achieve universal conquest, the Dominion’s gathering its forces and the Undine (Species 8472) have a deadly agenda.  Fight as a Starfleet captain or a KDF (Klingon Defense Force) general and do whatever you must for your faction.

The plot summarizes itself in one sentence; everyone’s trying to kill you.  I’m serious; the Federation gained so many enemies that I’m surprised they’re still alive.  All you do throughout the game is play fetch for the higher ups.  You can ask them questions about their pasts, but that’s about all you get when it comes to plot and character development.  There are also a few shout outs to the Star Trek series such as Miral Paris, Admiral Janeway, Section 31, and on Bajor there’s a note from one Anjohl Tennan (if you’ve seen Deep Space 9, you know what I’m talking about).  There are even missions where you go back in time and meet characters from Star Trek the Original Series.  Speaking of the Original Series, did I mention that Leonard Nimoy himself narrates the game as Spock?

The process of the game is very simple.  You choose a race, gender and a career for your character.  Your choices for specialties are science, engineering and tactical.  As for race, the Federation has so many different ones to choose from that listing them all will take up the whole page.  I will tell you this; each one has their own different traits.  You don’t get to unlock a KDF character until your Federation character reaches level 25, and your choice of species isn’t limited to Klingon.  You also have a wide selection of uniforms that your character can wear.

When you’re playing the game, it’s like interacting through your very own Star Trek series.  Sometimes the Federation and Klingon missions coincide, but the writers show them through a different perspective.  One example being the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Next Generation by having a Worf hologram appear on the holodeck.  When you talk to him as a Federation character, he says that it was an honor serving with Starfleet.  When you talk to him as a member of the KDF, he says that he was a disgrace to the Klingon Empire.

There are also events that take place during a set time.  Some involve the Borg invading a part of space.  Others are about collecting items for yourself, like the dilithium mining event.  One event is my absolute favorite, the Path to 2409, where you go to either Starfleet or Klingon Academy and receive two data chips with information that fills the gap between the shows and the game.  Then you take a test based on the information you got.

As this is a MMORPG, there is a co-op mode in this game.  You can make friends and form teams.  You can also form your own fleet or join an existing one.  There are actions that you can participate in, but you have to participate with others as well.

The game is free-to-play but you have to pay to add some extra items to use.  You can even get a subscription to add more benefits to your gaming experience.  My advice, unless you’re filthy rich, don’t bother paying for anything.  Paying to get more virtual stuff is the digital equivalent of drawing money from the ATM at a casino, if you do it you’re a loser.  Yes, I put down myself when I say this because I have shelled out money to pay for extra stuff, something I promised that I’d never do again.  Still, as I said earlier, if you’re filthy rich go for it.

One part of the game that I absolutely love is the foundry missions.  In this part, you can create and play missions created by other players.  What Star Trek Online usually lacks in story and character development, these missions usually make up for in spades.  Many of them don’t even have any combat and are more like interactive visual novels.  In fact, if done well, these stories feel more like episodes of Star Trek and make you feel more like a captain than the actual game does.  I’m actually thinking about reviewing foundry missions individually.  Not all of them, that would take forever, just the ones I play because I feel like it, the ones that make the foundry spotlight on the Star Trek Online website, and if anyone wants to request a review of a foundry mission feel free to do so.

This game is amazing.  I give it 9 out of 10; any trekkie will love this game.

Katy and Bob: Way Back Home (

Katy and Bob are just two rich kids that laze around the house while their father works full-time.  In order to teach them self-reliance, he sends them to a beach and gives them a challenge.  They have to earn enough money for a ticket home.

Not exactly the most original of plots but not a boring one either.  Two spoiled kids have to learn to appreciate what they have.

There’s just one thing that bothers me about this.  Bob learns his lesson faster than Katy, who wants to spend money on the first pretty thing she sees.  Therefore, women will spend all their money unless a man is present; I call unfortunate implications.

In the game, your customers can order anything from sodas to cocktails.  Katy takes care of the waitressing while Bob does the bartending.  After a certain event, monkeys come to purchase things from you as well.  In order to advance to the next level you have to meet the required goal.  If you’re lucky, you can get expert.

The money you earn is used to purchase upgrades.  In each level, you have a task you can complete to earn a different type of money that’s used to increase speed and patience.

It’s fun and not a bad waste of time.  I give it 6 out of 10, cliché plot with a good game play.

Reality Show: Fatal Shot Beta Test

A woman comes to your door asking you to investigate her husband’s murder.  He died during the filming of the newest reality show.

Big Fish Games emailed me with the opportunity to beta test a game that they plan to release in the future.  The plot seems a little predictable but I have jumped to the wrong conclusion before.  In the game, you collect objects that you can use later.  Some scenes will have a balloon where you use the UV light to uncover a hidden message.  You play mini-games that you can choose to skip and have an unlimited number of hints.  When you progress further in the game, it adds notes to your diary.

This game is interesting and fun.  I’m definitely interested in purchasing it.